Brief History of Me Not Blogging

I took a blog break of a week or so for a couple of reasons. First of all, I was technically impaired – something wrong with my cache – and second, I was immersed in Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time. STEPHEN-HAWKING-large570It is a challenge to absorb his lucid examination of worlds both extraordinarily small and massive, so much so as to inspire a kind of vertigo. A couple of the more dizzying facts he offers: distant galaxiesOur galaxy is one of some hundred thousand million, each galaxy containing some hundred thousand million stars. (48)twinparadox(T)here is no unique absolute time, but instead each individual has his own personal measure of time that depends on where he is and how he is moving. (44) DSCN2476Apparently, on Earth, sea level is the place to be.

Character Tattoos

Personally, I don’t understand tattoos. As much as I might be fascinated by Hannah Arendt at the moment, I think it would be a mistake to get a tattoo. hannaarendtsudomenica16ye8The same is true for Kiribati.

Kiribatan flag

Kiribatan flag

It’s even true for Victoria’s Secret. sexy witch nameAll of that said, a tattoo can be good short form for an aspect of a character in fiction. It’s a device I am toying with at the moment in The Ark. One character is a video game addict. video-game-famous-characters-tattoosAnother says little. away tattooAnd the last, ironically, overstates.tree tattoo

Kiribati in “The Ark”

The story of The Ark has drifted briefly into the Pacific Ocean and a collection of islands known as Kiribati. kiribatiThe location is one of the poorest nations in the world and is best known by Westerners as the site of The Battle of Tarawa in World War IIkiribati junkand the most likely nation to vanish due to global warming. Book your tickets quick.kiribati beach

Sloppy Rejection Letters

Having sent out a few query letters – with summary, sample pages and self-addressed envelope attached – regarding my bad side, I have received the occasional response, although all in the negative. All part of the process, McPhedran! Chin up! IMAG2509Nevertheless, notes such as the above leave something to be desired. While the font might be colorful and fine, the effort isn’t. The little strip of paper isn’t even cut in a straight line. “All the best?” Yeah, right.

Words as weapons: “Eichmann in Jerusalem”

Hannah Arendt offers a devastating portrait of humanity in Eichmann in Jerusalem, an assemblage of five successive articles written in 1963 for The New YorkerbanalityIt is in this work that Arendt coined the phrase, “the banality of evil”, positing that the mass murder perpetrated by the Nazis was not as much a thing of malevolence as it was of bureaucracy. She explains how words were used as weapons, to indoctrinate and then engineer the mass murders. Death camp architect Heinrich Himmler referred to the Holocaust as follows: “These are battles which future generations will not have to fight again.” Eichmann believed the “battles” to be geflugelte Worte (meaning “winged words” or words from classic literature), when in reality they were only the tools of propaganda.

Wagner's "Ring Cycle"

Wagner’s “Ring Cycle”

In other words, not only does Eichmann not acknowledge the evil of his work, neither does he understand how the evil was disseminated. Arendt goes on to cite a story of a leader speaking to Bavarian peasants in 1944: “The Fuhrer in his goodness has prepared for the whole German people a mild death through gassing in case the war should have an unhappy end.”

Goebbels family - all of whom died of cyanide

Goebbels family – all of whom died of cyanide

Arendt’s text reveals how the people of Germany were indoctrinated as a cult, who were willing to go to the bitter end to satisfy their leader not out of malice but because “honor is loyalty”. Therefore it should not come as a surprise that Eichmann maintained his innocence in the extermination of millions; he and his Nazi brethren were gassed by their own words.